Wax Begonia care is simple as long as you understand how succulent these plants are. The leaves and stems of Begonia semperflorens (meaning everblooming) are full of water. Couple this with a relatively small root system and you have a plant that can only cope with modest amounts of water.
The shade-loving wax Begonia is available in several color variations.
The leaves range from bright green to deep burgundy and seem to be infused with glitter.
The small flower petals have this same metallic quality.
The flowers are single, usually pink, red or white, and appear in great profusion throughout the growing season.
Plants will grow from 6-10 inches tall and look best massed in shady beds or in color bowls. Bronze-leaved plants will tolerate more light than plants with green leaves.
Begonia plants require a slightly acid soil. If you are bedding them out, add plenty of rotted oak leaves, compost or coffee grounds to the bed before you plant them.
If you are planting them in pots, use a peat-based mix. You can enrich it with compost to give the begonias an extra nitrogen boost. Clay pots are best because they allow Begonia roots to "breathe".
Do not feed newly planted Begonias. Wait until they have settled in, then begin to feed them monthly during warm weather. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer at half strength. Granular fertilizer can burn begonia leaves if it comes into contact with them.
The most important aspect of caring for a Begonia is watering.
Their soil must drain quickly. A soil that stays wet too long will rot them. Allow the soil to dry between waterings. Also, to avoid burning the leaves, try not to get them wet while the sun is on them.
If they get leggy or start to look tired by September, cut them back halfway and give them an extra feeding. They should bush back out and give you a few more weeks of bloom.
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These small annual plants make a big impact when planted in masses. Here, a dark-leaved variety is used to edge the expansive flower beds outside a mansion in Quebec.
A variety with dark red leaves has also been used to edge this flower bed. Notice how the begonia leaves echo the coloring of the Canna foliage.
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